Trump’s son-in law, Jared Kushner has been linked to Russia in a recent discovery during an investigation carried out by the investigative agency, FBI.
This comes after a seemingly quiet period for Trump and the oval office after reports revealed that Mike Flynn had been discovered to have links with a top Russia official, which reported got him fired from his position in the White house.
According to the Daily Beast, a quartet of stories, published on Friday during what is becoming known as the “Trump scandal witching hour,” each touched on a facet of the ongoing investigation into the Kremlin’s attempts to influence the outcome of last year’s U.S. presidential election.
Two, concerning White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, allege that one of the president’s closest confidantes engaged in previously undisclosed communications with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, including an alleged attempt to set up a secret communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin.
Kushner’s proposed backchannel, first reported by The Washington Post, would have protected discussions between the transition team and the Russian government from being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies—and, since they were to have been conducted using Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S., would have almost certainly exposed those discussions to Russian intelligence agencies.
Kislyak reportedly told superiors in Moscow that Kushner had pitched the clandestine communications channel during a meeting at Trump Tower in early December.
Kushner, who NBC News reported earlier this week had come under close scrutiny in the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin, also allegedly discussed arranging meetings between a Trump representative and a “Russian contact” in a third, unidentified country.
Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI special agent, questioned why Kushner’s security clearance wouldn’t have been held up by the reported conversations with Kislyak.
“This move by Kushner must have been sanctioned by Trump and known to top officials and family members,” said Watts, a Daily Beast contributor. “This might explain why Trump is always so concerned about the Russia investigation and why Kushner allegedly pushed Trump to fire Comey.”
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin appeared to be the first lawmaker to react to the Post report, writing on Twitter: “Been trying to think of a legitimate reason why a Trump official would want a secret line to Putin that FBI/NSA couldn’t monitor. I can’t.”
Reuters, citing seven current and former U.S. officials, reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during and after the presidential election, two of which occurred between April and November of last year.
None of those contacts with Kislyak was disclosed in Kushner’s application for top-secret security clearance before his father-in-law’s inauguration in January.
Jamie Gorelick, Kushner’s attorney, stated that Kushner “participated in thousands of calls in this time period,” and “has no recollection of the calls as described.”
“We have asked [Reuters] for the dates of such alleged calls so we may look into it and respond,” Gorelick continued, “but we have not received such information.”
Neither Kushner nor the White House responded to the Washington Post report about the proposed Kremlin communications backchannel with former national security officials and experts all reacted with shock to the Kushner revelations.